Headache treatment and prevention

Dr Julia Adams (Osteopath)By Dr Julia Adams (Osteopath)  |

Headaches are one of the most common central nervous system disorders. Approximately 50% of adults experience at least one headache each year and 1 in 20 adults experience headaches daily (WHO, 2007 & 2014).

There are many things we can do to manage and treat headaches. 

Techniques to help self-manage headaches

  • Hydration – Keeping well hydrated helps prevent headaches from occurring
  • Caffeine –  Try and manage your daily intake of coffee. Consuming too much caffeine can bring on headaches for many people. 
  • Stress – Many people associate an increase in headaches with an increase in stress. You can either address the stressors directly or try techniques such as deep breathing and meditation, which can help decrease the effects that the stressor is having on your body.
  • Medication – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (eg. Ibuprofen) can help temporarily manage the pain associated with headaches. 

How an Osteopath can help with headaches

  • Diagnosis  An Osteopath will start by diagnosing the type of headache you are experiencing. The two most common types are tension headaches, and cervicogenic headaches. Headaches are a common complaint that an Osteopath or primary health practitioner is trained to quickly diagnose and manage. In many cases they can be resolved quickly. Your health practitioner is also trained to identify the small percentage of headaches which may be more serious and require immediate attention or referral (NICE, 2015). 
  • Treatment  As with many other complaints, Osteopaths will address the cause of the headache, whether biomechanical or otherwise. With the general aim of reducing or resolving pain, it is important to realise that treatment will be specific to the person presenting depending on factors including their lifestyle and the type of headache. 
  • Management – An Osteopath will develop a management plan and treatment schedule in order to provide the best outcomes in the short term and also to prevent recurrences in the long term. 

If you would like to speak with one of Osteopaths or other practitioners about headaches or any other concerns, please contact us to see if we can help you.